Finding it hard to get back into my sector after a two-year gap: ask the expert

I was working in the IT field as an SAP developer for 3+ years. Later on, I got reallocated after my spouse’s job moved. Under these circumstances I became pregnant and gave birth to a girl. Now there is a two-year gap in my cv and I am finding it difficult to get a job again in the same field. I am feeling depressed at times and now I am ready to join any firm and start my career as a trainee. Can you please give me any positive tips for starting a new career?

Hand putting wooden cube block on blue background with word CAREER



First this is a common question, you are not alone and many women feel this way after having a career break so please don’t think you are alone.  You have many skills gained throughout your career that will help you into the work you are aiming for.  Don’t forget you now have many more skills to add to that list being a mum.  As every mum knows, multi-tasking is an understatement when it comes to looking after children, home, yourself etc.

Think of this as a fresh start to you and your career.  Take a step back, clear the mind and take a new look at your CV and cover letter.  We are all very different with very different learning styles and habits.  If you are a planner, take a new page and start planning where you are now and where you want to be.  How are you going to get there?

– Skills – Working in the IT (SAP developer) field you will have many existing skills which I have listed below:

– Extensive technical knowledge

– An ability to explain technical information to non-technical people

– Excellent communications skills

– Good negotiating skills

– A good business understanding

– Team-working and team management experience

– Good project management skills

– Good organisation and problem-solving skills

– A methodical and analytical approach

If not already on, add these in your CV along with other relevant skills you have picked up throughout your career and life experiences.

Attitude – you WILL get there, maybe not to the job you have in mind, perhaps down a new route altogether but you will not be in this ‘rut’ for long.  There are many different websites out there to look at skill sets.  Try My World of Work, a website set up to build a DNA of skills.  There is a series of tests to go through and it gives you jobs you are matched to; profiles that you can add to your CV personal profile (very important section of your CV) and it may open new doors for you.

CV – Yes, very important.  Could it do with a re-vamp?  Look over it, or get someone to do that for you.  In my experience the worst person to sell ourselves is ourselves!  We don’t often see the potential of what we can achieve, sometimes thinking of past experiences and relying on that alone to move us forward.

Cover Letter/Applying for Jobs – Are you just applying for jobs you are seeing advertised?  After looking over your skills and perhaps broadening your options (so what if you have to start as a trainee?  It may not be for long and as long as you enjoy it, that is important), go to your local directory of businesses through Yell or similar.  Like the sound of a company?

Write to them.  Tell them how they can help their business, make a good addition to their team..there are lots of examples of good cover letters if you need help.  The Hidden Job Market as it is known can be the best way of getting into a company, making them hire you before they realise they were looking for someone!  Some companies dread the idea of going through the whole recruitment process so write to them, offer your services.

DIY – No, I’m not meaning start as a painter or decorator, but if you are not looking for a change in career, have you thought about setting up your own business?  Start researching working from home.  Go freelance.  There are companies, especially small businesses which would benefit from your expertise.  Make some fliers, advertise via facebook or your local shop.  Find out how your services would be received.  Contact your local business centre or go online for the advice and go from there.  It could lead to what you are looking for.

I hope these few but important points will reiterate that you can do this but there is one even more important point.  Without sounding too ‘mumsie’, you are a mum with a beautiful daughter which is something to be proud of.  Having gone through the working mum thing myself, I appreciate how difficult it is, how depressing it can be when times are tough and you are not in that working environment that you loved (or not at times) but now you can have the best of both worlds.  Good Luck.


Comments [1]

  • Anonymous says:

    I was a full-time working mum of two small children, working in a senior position when my partner was offered a big promotion working in another part of the country. This was his chance to shine so I gave up work and we moved. I became self employed to work around the children. Then our relationship broke down. I was not generating enough income to pay the bills and did not want to claim benefits. So I took on a second part-time job which is low paid and dead end in a warehouse. That was 9 years ago. Since then I have taken courses and have done voluntary work to update and increase my skills. I have lowered my sights and applied for loads of less senior jobs/jobs where my skills would be transferrable and have even had the odd interview (so I suppose that my CV must be OK). I am still stuck working in that warehouse, and they wonder why so many women are in low-paid dead end jobs.
    People have to have a career break for many reasons. Unfortunately for some, this may also be the end of their career and all the advice on how to get back to their former standing can become a little trite. If employers choose not to use our skills and abilities that is their loss. This situation is no reflection on us as individuals. Perhaps it is more a reflection on those employers who have an inflexible and blinkered mind set. Good luck!

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